A Field Reconfigurable Manipulator for Rovers
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AbstractRobots will be precursors to human exploration of the lunar surface. They will be expected to prepare the lunar surface for human habitation as well as conduct scientific investigations. As humans arrive the robots should be able to shift to providing direct assistance to human exploration activities. Such tasks require a new generation of robotic vehicles -- a generation that has flexible, dexterous manipulation capabilities and adjustable software controllers that can shift between remote teleoperation, autonomy and co-located human interaction. Our innovation consists of two components. The first component is a reconfigurable, dexterous manipulator that is designed to be mounted on a mobile robot. The manipulator will be light-weight and low-power. It will contain a reconfigurable number of up to seven degrees-of-freedom. The second component is a software system that can adjust control of the manipulator from teleoperated to autonomous and that can control the mobile robot and the manipulator as a coordinated unit. We propose to implement a method called Coordinated Resolved Motion Control that will automatically and jointly control the rover as well as the manipulator such that the manipulator will stay away from singularities. Together these two innovations will substantially increase the capabilities of NASA rovers, making them more efficient and effective.
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